When it comes to neck pain, prevention is indeed better than cure. Neck pain can usually last for days to weeks and is immensely uncomfortable. It makes life incredibly hard and compromises your ability to perform your daily activities. Many things cause neck pain, one of the most important may just be your sleeping position because it can have a huge impact on the alignment of your backbone.
Let’s find out how to ease neck pain!
Why Your Neck Hurts After Sleeping
Neck pain has been known to have a relationship with sleep. Everyone has faced neck pain when they woke up in the morning. So was it about sleep that caused their neck to hurt all day long? Most of the time the answer is quite simple, falling asleep with an awkward angle of the neck is enough to make it stiff and painful.
Another reason could be that with aging there's a natural loss of muscle mass that leads to increased pain in the neck and other areas of the body. Stress also has a huge impact, it disrupts the natural healing that goes on while the person is asleep and thus you wake up restless and with a stiff neck and body.
Is It Better For Your Neck To Sleep Without a Pillow?
Sleeping without a pillow can be quite hard on your neck. It puts the entire weight of your head on your neck for a long time. This makes your muscles stiff and painful. It is best to use a pillow that conforms to the shape of your neck and works to support it. This allows your neck muscles to relax and go through the natural nocturnal patterns of healing. But the pillow needs to be appropriate.
A pillow that is too high or too hard may do more damage than good. It is best to find a pillow that suits your neck best. It would be best if you avoid hard pillows and try feather pillows instead because they conform easily to support your neck. This may mean stuffing a neck roll into a pillowcase as a temporary fix. Also if chances are that you will fall asleep in a sitting position for example when commuting from work, it is best to keep a horseshoe pillow so that your head doesn't drop to one side.
What Is the Best Sleeping Position for Neck Pain
We have already established that position has a lot to do with aggravating or relieving neck pain. When suffering from neck pain you need to understand what has caused it. If it is because of an awkward sleep position the night before, it would be best to establish support for your neck the next night which would allow it to heal and the neck pain to ease naturally. The back sleeping posture therapy results show effective results for neck pain.
Choose a Pillow for Your Sleeping Style
Different people have different requirements based on different styles and postures. Back sleepers, for example, should use a pillow that is firm and well rounded. This will allow the pillow to conform to the shape of the neck and support it. Feather pillows are a great choice but they aren't the best option for everyone because some people might be allergic.
Side-sleepers should take a more generic approach when it comes to pillows, their style is best paired with pillows that are mildly firm and curve to conform to the shape of the neck. A more generalized approach to pillow shopping could be simply buying a cervical pillow that suits the requirements of both kinds of sleeping styles and provides remarkable neck support all night long.
When to Seek Help for Your Neck Pain
As great as it is to understand the importance of prevention, it is also important to recognize that sometimes they may not be enough. You must go to the doctor, explain all your symptoms and get the opinion of a medical professional. As great as these tips are, they're for the prevention of such neck pain and not for the treatment.
Neck pain can last for a long time and has been known to develop into chronic pain if left untreated. If the neck pain fails to resolve on its own within two weeks, or increases in intensity instead of decreasing, that is when you should approach the doctor.
Some Sleeping Mistakes to Avoid
Sleeping plays a huge role in neck pain and posture. Maintenance of a proper posture allows you to keep your head held high and gives you the strength to face your problems head-on, both literally and figuratively. The first thing you should is to always keep a horseshoe pillow with you, especially on long commutes or flights where you suspect that you may fall asleep. This provides support to the neck and keeps it from establishing any uncomfortable positions that may cause strains in the future. You should also make sure that the mattress you sleep on is flat and comfortable and doesn't have any dents or soft spots.
People commonly believe that neck pain has everything to do with sleep patterns and positions and nothing to do with your activities during the day. In this day and age, there is barely a moment of time when we're not staring at screens, either smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs or Laptops. These devices have a considerable impact on your neck. When it comes to smartphones, for example, keeping your head bend over a smartphone all day is bound to take its toll on the neck.
Similarly, having a screen too high above to too low below the eye level is bound to cause discomfort and straining of the neck. It is thus important to know that the neck reacts to all the stresses you put on it, whether while awake or asleep.
Learn more about The Best Mattress for Back Pain.
Quick Tips to Prevent Neck Pain
- Try to use a headset when talking to people on the phone, because people tend to cradle the phone between the ear and the shoulder. This causes the neck to bend at an awkward angle and causes pain.
- Hydration is the key to health, like all other health concerns, hydration makes you healthier and keeps you fresh. So try to keep a water bottle with you and keep sipping all day to prevent dehydrating, especially in these insanely hot summers.
- When carrying weights, it is important to carry it in balance. For example, it is best to lift something with both hands and with the support of your knees. This allows for an equal distribution of weight throughout your body and prevents overstretching of a particular group of muscles.
- A good posture is key for the prevention of neck pain. It will maintain support and leads to decreased strain on the neck.
- If you're like any normal human being, at the end of a long day, you're probably bone tired and have a stiff neck. If you massage and relieve those knots of tension straight away, you are bound to have a better feeling neck the next morning. Just don't be too hard on it, it is best to be gentle but firm when working on your neck.
You may love to read more about The Best Pillow for Neck Pain.
When faced with neck stiffness and neck pain, it is best to use home techniques for an easy fix, but it is important to know that these are mostly preventive measures and are not as effective in the management of the neck pain itself. This is when you should approach the doctor for a professional opinion.
But, prevention is better than cure. Always.